1808
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Inscription.

The Poetical Works of William Lisle Bowles, Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, and Rector of Bremhill. With Memoir, Critical Dissertation, and Explanatory Notes, by the Rev. George Gilfillan. 2 vols.

Rev. William Lisle Bowles


A Miltonic retirement ode dated "Bremhill Garden, Sept. 1808." Bowles's gardens at Bremhill were much admired, and doubtless contained more than a few literary inscriptions in the eighteenth-century manner. The sentiments expressed here seem to have been forgotten later on when the rector's ambition for renown became all too apparent during the Pope controversy of the 1820s.

Robert Aris Willmott: "Lisle Bowles is another name to be marked with a white stone. A delightful spot was Bremhill — indeed, is still — with the quaint garden, and the swans, Snowdrop and Lily, sailing up to the parlour window to inquire after their dinner, and Peter the hawk, and the Vicar holding his watch to his ear, to make sure that he had not grown deaf since breakfast. Southey visited the Parsonage when the loveable old man was in his seventy-third year, and presented to the eye of his friend the most entertaining mixture that could be of untidiness, simplicity, benevolence, timidity, and good nature; but nobody smiled at his oddities more heartily than the owner" Poets of the Nineteenth Century (1856) vii.



Come, and where these runnels fall,
Listen to my madrigal!
Far from all sounds of all the strife,
That murmur through the walks of life;
From grief, inquietude, and fears,
From scenes of riot, or of tears;
From passions, cankering day by day,
That wear the inmost heart away;
From pale Detraction's envious spite,
That worries where it fears to bite;
From mad Ambition's worldly chase,
Come, and in this shady place,
Be thine Contentment's humble joys,
And a life that makes no noise,
Save when fancy, musing long,
Turns to desultory song;
And wakes some lonely melody,
Like the water dripping by.
Come, and where these runnels fall,
Listen to my madrigal!

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